Music’s Painful Associations: Repost from 2012

As I wrote a year and a half ago in Fighting the Darkness, there are a whole slew of songs and albums I couldn’t listen to after the friendship breakup with Richard, because they were too painful, reminded me too much of him.

Pretty much my entire Goth collection was included.  I listened to steampunk and rock/metal mostly, to get away from it for a while.

I can tell it’s getting better, though, because several months ago, I began listening to my Goth station on Pandora.com again, began listening to my collection again.

It’s still far too painful to listen to certain bands/songs, though: “Headhunter,” certain New Order songs, Sisters of Mercy, Dead Can Dance, and the Siouxsie and Birthday Massacre CDs which arrived and got “stuck” in the CD player while Richard lived with us.

But as for the rest–Going without my Goth music is like being in a desert for nearly two years, even with the new wonders of steampunk and the old familiarity of rock/metal.

I was starving, I was parched; I couldn’t go without it anymore.  I listen to my Wolfsheim MP3s as if I had been deprived of them for years.

The power of music to bring back memories, and the way music is filled with various associations from your own life–where you were when you listened to it, the friend who introduced it to you, what you were doing–this is well known and documented.

Unfortunately, it also means that old favorites start reminding you of things you can’t stand to remember, at least for now.

The most amazing part is discovering that losing a best friend is far more painful, with far longer-lasting pain, than breaking up with someone you were dating.  Maybe it’s because–even if you thought that person was the “One”–you soon realize that dating relationships usually end eventually.

A best friend is supposed to be forever.  They’re supposed to have your back no matter what; even if you move away, you can still friend them on Facebook or send them e-mails.  They’re supposed to be there to mend your heart when it’s broken.

They’re not supposed to turn into Judas, betraying you, throwing you to the dogs, and letting you get punished for a crime you did not commit, when they know d**n well that you’re innocent.  (I feel kinship with Ben-Hur on this as well.)  They’re not supposed to be convicted of strangling one of their kids.

While with ex-boyfriends etc., you eventually realize that couples just aren’t always meant to stay together forever, and you get past it.  It’s not a betrayal to break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, and one day you may even be friends again.

But breaking up with a friend–that’s it.  You can’t “just be friends” because you already were friends and that ended.

I have to face the truth about Richard’s character, that it is not what I thought it was, that he is a terrible, horrible, abusive, malicious narcissist.

There’s no way to go back to this “friend” because of his lack of remorse for what he did to Jeff and me and (from what he wrote to me) for what he did to his kid…

…no hope anymore that he will change his ways…

…nothing but recollections so painful that I can’t listen to music that reminds me of him anymore.  Not even old favorites.

[Update 9/13/12: I always associated the song “Wings of a Butterfly” by HIM with Richard because it came out around the time we were becoming friends online/on the phone, and I downloaded and played it all the time then.  Right after it on my MP3 list was “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay, so the two became linked in my mind as well.  Today, “Speed of Sound” came on the radio, and I had to squeeze away the tears.]

As it turns out, music and religion both bring such powerful associations.  For many months, I could barely get through a church service without tears threatening to spill out of my eyes.  The word “mysteries” was just as painful as listening to one of the songs above….

Another blog post, Still, My Soul Be Still, also expresses the pain of songs associated with abusers.

Songs that express my feelings lately:


Godsmack–Whatever
And I don’t need your
Sh*t today
You’re pathetic
In your own way

I feel for you
Better fuckin’ go away
I will be here
Better fuckin’ go away

And I’m doing the best I ever did
I’m doing the best that I can
And I’m doing the best I ever did


Morrissey–Suedehead
Why do you come here
When you know it makes things hard for me?
When you know, oh
Why do you come?

It was because
Everything that I did
I wrote it down
On the wall
You had to sneak into my room
‘just’ to read my diary

Oh, it was just to see, just to see
(all the things you knew I’d written about you…)
And oh so many illustrations
Oh, but
I’m so very sickened
Oh, I am so sickened now


Mary J. Blige–No More Drama
NO MORE DRAMA
No more drama in my life
So tired, tired of this drama


Steve Taylor–Svengali
Oh, Svengali
Wide eyes mesmerize 
Ain’t he clever
Cry out oh Svengali


Whiteheart–Dr. Jekyll Mr. Christian
Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian,
It’s a mask you wear to hide,
You got a notion God’s a potion, and it works most every time,
Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian.

Experimented with your eyes just to get a bigger piece of pie,
I really think you do believe, yet you use religion to deceive,
So when it’s time for you-know-who you feel the change come over you.

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian,
It’s a mask you wear to hide,
You got a notion God’s your potion, and it works most every time,
Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian,
What is faith?
What is a lie?
Don’t you know that, can’t you see that God is not your alibi?


Wolfsheim–Find You’re Gone
It seems I’m glad… I find you’re gone
I find you’re gone…
I find you’re gone…


Peter Heppner (of Wolfsheim)–I Hate You
You may think I will forget,
and that time will wash away all the things
you should regret.
But I will find a way:
do not think I can’t wait.
I hate you from the bottom of my heart.

I hate you.
I hate you from the bottom of my heart.
I hate you–
I’ll kick and I’ll break you,
and I won’t tear myself apart.
I hate you.
I hate you from the bottom of my heart,
of my heart.
You can’t make your words unsaid,

and no matter how much you ever try to make
me forget,


Shinedown–Bully
It’s 8 AM, this hell I’m in
Seems I’ve crossed a line again
For being nothing more than who I am
So break my bones and throw your stones
We all know that life ain’t fair
But there’s more of us we’re everywhere
We don’t have to take this back against the wall
We don’t have to take this we can end it all
All you’ll ever be is a faded memory of a bully
Make another joke while they hang another rope so lonely
Push them to the dirt till the words don’t hurt can you hear me
No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die you’re a bully


Sick Puppies–You’re Going Down
If it’s a fight I’m ready to go
I wouldn’t put my money on the other guy
If you know what I know that I know

It’s been a long time coming
And the tables’ turned around
Cause one of us is goin’
One of us is goin’ down
I’m not running, it’s a little different now
Cause one of us is goin’
One of us is goin’ down

 [Please comment on original post.  I opened it for people who want to discuss their own painful music associations.]

 

 

2011 Trip to Tennessee–Land of the Appalachians: Repost

For most of the last week (August 4-9, 2011), my husband Cugan, my son Daniel and I were in Knoxville, Tennessee visiting Cugan’s parents.  This is the travelogue:

Day 1:

We are now down in Tennessee visiting Cugan’s parents.  Daniel got his first ride on a plane yesterday, but hated it: First our flight was so delayed that we couldn’t possibly make our connection, so we were switched to a different flight.  Then they switched us back with a different connection, but we’d lost our seats–and ended up in steerage, next to the engine, no window, but tons of racket.  Made my travel-migraine much worse, our stomachs went up and down with the plane–just awful. 😛

But the second plane was much better, right behind first class, very little airsickness, and Daniel got to watch out a window as the nighttime lights fell away below us…and the moon rose….

The layover was also much better than originally planned.  We originally had only an hour to get through the massive Atlanta airport, not enough time for dinner.  That airport is lots bigger than the one in Milwaukee, requiring trains to get from one concourse to another.  But this time, we got to have dinner and recover from our airsickness in the cool AC.

And I saw sitting across from us a little boy about Daniel’s age.  I encouraged him to go over and play, and the two became fast friends: The other boy, Jonathan, was like Daniel’s Spanish-speaking counterpart.  They spoke different languages but played the same things the same way, had similar toys.

And it showed Daniel the value of learning Spanish, which he’s been working on with my BYKI.com software.  They both had lego guys, cars, DS game systems.   LOL

Day 2:

It’s funny that I just digitized one of Cugan’s Blue Öyster Cult tapes onto the computer, because this state reminds me of “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” with its mountains, hillbilly history and Lover’s Leap on Lookout Mountain.

Today we went to Gatlinburg, an hour from Knoxville, where Cugan’s parents live.  Kitschy establishments everywhere!  There’s even a “Hatfield vs. McCoy” dinner theater, the building made to look like a couple of hillbilly shacks.  They really play up the hillbilly thing in these parts.

But we weren’t there for the kitsch.  First we went to–what was it called, Bubba Gump Shrimp or something like that.  It’s a restaurant based on Bubba’s shrimp business, which later became Forrest’s, on “Forrest Gump.”

Not only do they have Forrest Gump stuff everywhere–quotes all over the tables, Gump memorabilia, menu items named after characters–but the server does movie trivia as you eat.  You put up a sign saying “Stop Forrest Stop” if you want service.  If you don’t, you put up a sign saying “Run Forrest Run.”

After that, we went to the aquarium.  Usual aquarium stuff, but the shark tank was set up with classical music and a moving sidewalk (very disorienting, especially with my nasty migraine, but if you’re feeling healthy it’s supposed to fill you with awe), and the tank actually went over your head.  You could look up and see sharks resting over your head and swimming over you.

The African penguin section allowed children to go in these tubes to see the penguins up-close, but still from protective glass, so of course Daniel went in there.  There were two petting areas: One for horseshoe crabs, the other for stingrays.

I got to pet a horseshoe crab, but the stingrays were just too far away.  It was hard to bend over the wall, and the stingrays always went just beyond my reach, though some of them did seem to come over to me on purpose.

And, of course, to get out of the aquarium you HAD to go through the gift shop.  It was actually a rule: You were blocked from going anywhere else but through the greatest part of the gift shop.  Yeah, we knew why that rule was there.  LOL

We’re talking Chattanooga tomorrow.  I hope to go to Lookout Mountain and the Civil War display there, along with the cave and Lover’s Leap.

I went there with my family as a kid, though I forget how old I was.  Possibly teens or late childhood.  I also remember going to the Coca-Cola museum; I’m not sure where exactly it is in Tennessee, but hope to show it to Daniel.

I must show him a cave before we leave this state!  Not only do I want him to see the awesomeness that is caves, but I haven’t seen a cave for probably 10 years.   Here in the mountains there are probably lots of caves!

Too bad the airsickness and migraine have combined to make the trip more grueling than it otherwise would have been.  It’s also very hot here right now: The car thermometer read 98 degrees at one point.  😛  I like cooler weather.  I don’t want to ever move down South or West.

Day 3:

Turns out Chattanooga is some four hours away, so unfortunately, we won’t be going there.

Today we went to the Cherokee Caverns, a cave near Oak Ridge where they did the Manhattan Project during WWII.  It’s not far from Knoxville, out in the wilderness.

History of Cherokee Caverns

They do public tours only four times a year, and today was the day for this time of year.  There were a bunch of people there.  A cute young guy led our group through the little cave.

It was pretty, and has some interesting history.  There is evidence that Cherokees used it, such as river cane torch marks (stoke marks) in places where they would have rubbed their torches to relight them, and they would have found flint and other things they needed in there.

The cave is also made into a Haunted Cave periodically, so they also have two manmade wonders: a “vortex tunnel,” a spinning black tunnel with colored spots which makes you feel disoriented, and an alligator-shaped formation.

It was used for filming during one of the Christy movies, when she was lost in a cave.  The guide showed us where the crew filled up a part of the cave with water and then drained it.

He also told us that during the 80s, a biker gang used it for parties and hanging out.  They damaged it in various places, such as one spot where some idiot shot a stalactite (did it hit him in the eye when it fell, I wonder?), another spot where they burned a bunch of tires as a last hurrah before leaving the cave, and tiremarks here and there.

Also, when one large floor was excavated to make the cave handicap accessible, they found some bear skeletons.

After that we went to the Oak Ridge Children’s Museum.  It wasn’t just a play area, but had actual museum pieces and log cabins to show how people used to live in the Appalachians, and how people lived who worked on the Manhattan Project.

Through this display, I learned why some of the Weather Channel people pronounce “Appalachians” so strange: In the North, it’s “AppaLAYshuns,” as we say it around here.  In the South, it’s “AppaLATCHans,” as they say it on the Weather Channel.

Daniel had a lot of fun playing with various displays, especially the toy boats and trains, and didn’t want to leave, but it was almost closing time.  We got caught in a sudden rainstorm on the way out.

The clerks at the Children’s Museum told us about the houses nearby, which Cugan’s dad asked about, saying they looked a lot alike.  They were used by the workers in the Manhattan Project–A houses, B houses, C houses, etc.–and are now private dwellings which people modify as needed.  To this day people refer to them as A houses, B houses, C houses, etc.

The government kept the town a secret until after WWII.  Workers on the Manhattan Project didn’t even know it had anything to do with the atomic bomb.

Day 4:

Today we visited the Museum of Appalachia near Knoxville.  It has relics and actual or replicated buildings from old Appalachian settlements.

With all the steep pathways and the heat and humidity, it’s not surprising that Daniel started to complain.  But it wasn’t surprising that they spent most of their time outside: The stifling buildings were even worse.

One hut, belonging to an old bachelor, was a teeny tiny room that just fit a bed, a stove and some other things.  A dorm room was palatial compared to this, even the closet-room belonging to a friend of mine who lived in the men’s dorm at Roanoke College.

One cabin belonged to Mark Twain’s parents, and was only a bit larger, with a loft.  Yet another cabin had large rooms and two stories, along with a richly-carved mantel.

There were peacocks running around and filling the air with their cries.  There were sheep and large roosters.  Inside the display buildings you could see various pieces used by actual mountain people from the late 1800s and early 1900s, from toys and beds to musical instruments, caskets, a hearse….

There was a tiny church, making you wonder how they could sit in that stifling room dressed in 19th-century Sunday best.  There was a one-room schoolhouse with two outhouses, one for boys and one for girls.

The outhouses were big enough to move around comfortably, though one-seaters, and could easily hold a coat and a water basin.  I always wonder about such things.

We stopped at the little restaurant/cafe for refreshment, and found Coke in old-fashioned 8-oz. glass bottles.

There was, of course, a hut with a still and other whiskey-making implements.   The write-up told about a guy called Popcorn Sutton, a mountain man who was famous for making moonshine.  The dates given were in the 2000s!  He died only two years ago!

So I asked, and was told that some people still live like this in the mountains, that these aren’t just relics from the past like the Galloway House.

After a little Googling it appears that there have been many improvements and modernizations in the rural areas of the region, there are now trailers and more modern houses and cars and schools and modern clothes and household implements, but the mountain people are still desperately poor.

So the same lack of running water and electricity, ramshackle houses, outhouses, poor medical care, and other such things still exist among many.  And they still carry on the culture and music of their ancestors.

Popcorn Sutton

Popcorn Sutton’s Family’s Blog

20/20’s “Children of the Mountains”

Mountains Of Substandard Housing Appalachia’s Poverty And Unemployment Make Even Ragged Homes Unaffordable.

In the evening, Cugan and I went on a little date by ourselves, first dinner at a restaurant then the latest Harry Potter movie.  On the way home, finally I could see the Appalachian mountains at night, a beautiful scene I haven’t seen since my family visited my brothers in North Carolina in 1990: the mountains black, lurking shadows against the dark gray of the night sky.

Day 5:

Today we went to Dollyworld, an amusement park which was bought out by Dolly Parton and made into a big marketing thing for her: her music playing everywhere, Dolly’s fashions sold in a shop, things like that.  The narcissism was amusing.

But there was lots to do, shops to visit, rides for Daniel, a candy shop, a train going through the park but also around the mountain with various replicas of hillbilly life/buildings (including a moonshine still) circa the 19th century.

There were also various shows; we went to a 40-minute musical with dancers, which went through local history from Cherokees to the Scottish-Irish settlers to the 19th century culture to Depression-era changes.  There were even 4 guys, playing Cherokees, who flew over the audience and ended up right over us on a stage contraption.  Daniel was amazed at that part.

Tomorrow we go home.

[Comment on original post here.]

Reblog: How narcissistic abuse prepared us to fight against what is happening right now. | Lucky Otters Haven

I don’t think there’s any coincidence that the great army of us who discovered that our own brokenness was a result of narcissistic abuse came about a mere ten or twenty years before this conscienceless, sociopathic cabal of self serving narcissists, con artists, criminals, and their flying monkeys (enablers and sycophants) rose to take power over our nation and maybe the world. I truly believe that as painful and unfair as our suffering was, if we were able to recognize it for what it was and escape from it, we are the ones with the right sort of training and emotional resilience to lead the fight against the darkness that is threatening to destroy the world. It’s a kind of holy war, but it has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with good versus evil, and because we got to see firsthand in our own families of origin (or our abusive marriages or other close relationships) how damaging and pernicious this type of evil can be, we have a huge advantage over most of seeing through to the truth of things (and where there is truth, there is goodness and justice).

Source: How narcissistic abuse prepared us to fight against what is happening right now. | Lucky Otters Haven

FOUR Resurrections in Glorious Appearing: Left Behind Review: Repost from 2013

This was originally posted in March 2013 here: https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/four-resurrections-in-glorious-appearing-lb-review-part-2/  Please comment on the original post.

Part 1

For pages 354 to 356, oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we stick the Rapture and the Resurrection before the Tribulation!  (And when we make the Rapture separate from the Resurrection.)

Where do I start?  This is so convoluted and imaginary.  Get this scheme of things, which in all my years of being a premillennial dispensationalist, never cropped up in anything I heard or read about the End of Days:

First, you have the Rapture, which is the beginning of error, because it is not biblical and mangles the doctrines and timelines of the Second Coming and Resurrection.  Then this Rapture applies only to Christians and not to Old Testament saints.

Then the authors split the Resurrection into two resurrections, one of life and one of death (condemnation).  Um, I thought they were supposed to happen at the same time for everyone, after the Tribulation and at the end of time, then we’d all be judged, and some would go to Heaven and some would go to Hell.

But the first resurrection (of life) gets split still further, with timing depending on when you lived.

Christians who died before the Rapture are resurrected at the Rapture, Resurrection #1.

Old Testament saints and Tribulation martyrs are resurrected between the Glorious Appearing (ie, Christ coming to stop Armageddon) and the Millennium, Resurrection #2.

(Like they did between the Rapture and the Tribulation, the authors have inserted an interval here which they seem to have pulled out of their butts.  And what about Christians who died of natural causes during the Tribulation, so aren’t martyrs?)

The Millennium believers are resurrected at the end of the Millennium, even though they’re all still alive (yes, the book points this out), Resurrection #3.

But all the condemned are resurrected at once no matter when they lived: after the Millennium, during the Great White Throne Judgment, Resurrection #4.

FOUR Resurrections???!!!

On page 357, we read, “…[A]pparently it was God’s intent that the Millennium start with a clean slate.  All unbelievers would soon die.”  All unbelievers are doomed, doomed, doomed!


On page 358, we read,

The various groups of believers might find each other, but what were they to do?  Would there be enough of them to start rebuilding the country as, finally for real, a Christian nation?

Oh, they get their theocracy!  You often hear from the religious right that we’re a “Christian nation,” even though we are pluralist.  Then we find that everyone is to live in Israel.  So they don’t even get to choose where to live?

On page 363, the authors totally misinterpret Christ’s representation of the sheep vs. the goats (Matt. 25:31-46).  We read,

“Some call this a Semitic jugment,” Eleazar said.  “Jesus will judge you Gentiles on how you have treated His chosen people.  Those who honored the Jews are the sheep, and those who did not are the goats.”

NO, NO, NO!  The passage is very clear on what is meant: The sheep showed love for other people–Jew or Gentile–by treating them as if they were Christ, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, that sort of thing.  The goats showed disdain for other people by being selfish and self-centered.

Don’t make this into some political statement about Christian Zionism, let’s all vote for the Republican Party so we don’t get labeled a goat, when it’s really about love for one’s fellow man!  Especially since for centuries, there was no political Israel.  And before Israel existed, there was no Israel, period.

The story of the sheep and goats says absolutely nothing about nations or Jews or Gentiles–or, for that matter, religions, period.

(Realizing this fact is one of the first things that got me wondering if I had been taught correctly about the Judgment, which ultimately led me to Orthodoxy, which also recognizes that this passage is not about correct religion, but love toward one’s fellow man.)

In United States politics, Christian Zionism is important because it mobilises an important Republican constituency: fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants who support Israel.

The Democratic Party, which has the support of most American Jews, is also generally pro-Israel, but with less intensity and fewer theological underpinnings. —Christian Zionism

Then after this heresy we find the grammatical heresy of Eleazar saying “When Jesus slayed all his enemies.”  Slayed?

Pages 364 to 365 demonstrate the worst heresy of Calvinism–and the reason why I could no longer, in good conscience, believe the stringent Evangelical/ Fundamentalist teachings about the Judgment (and discovered, to my delight, that even the Catholics and the Orthodox are not nearly so strict):

Priscilla Sebastian says, “But it doesn’t sound like there will be much to judge [at the Great White Throne Judgment].  People either received Christ as their Savior, or they didn’t.”  Eleazar replies,

Right, but we believe that God, being wise and fair and wanting to demonstrate how far men and women fall short of His standard, will judge them based on their own works.

Obviously, all will fail to measure up.  This will show that the punishment is deserved, and as I have said, they will be sent to the lake of fire for eternity.

So how do you know they’re all going to fail?

From the Orthodox Study Bible:

–The Orthodox view is that unbelievers are judged according to the natural law, the law written on the conscience which every human being has.  We are naturally good; to sin is to act against our nature.

–Habitual sins can dull the conscience; the conscience is also the means by which unbelievers can ultimately be saved.  The goal is not man’s praise, but pleasing God.  This is based on Romans 2:14-16 and 29.

–Also, those of us who are aware of the Mosaic Law (particularly the moral one, which still stands) are also aware that it is impossible to keep it perfectly; it cannot make us righteous.

–We are accountable to both the natural and Mosaic Law.   Those who “become righteous by grace through faith fulfill in Christ both the natural and the Mosaic Law” (pp. 341-343, The Orthodox Study Bible).

Jesus Christ’s Parable of the Last Judgment (Matt.25:31-46) indicates that for many people the Judgment will become a moment of insight, recognition and conversion, while for others it may turn out to be a great disappointment and frustration.

Those who were sure of their own salvation will suddenly find themselves condemned, while those who perhaps did not meet Christ in their earthly life (‘when did we see Thee?’) but were merciful towards their neighbour, will be saved.

In this parable, the King does not ask people about matters of belief, doctrine and religious practice. He does not ask them whether they went to church, kept the fasts, or prayed for long time: He only asks them how they treated His ‘brethren’.

The main criteria of the Judgment are therefore the acts of mercy performed or not performed by people during their earthly lives.

According to the teaching of the Church, the Last Judgment will be universal: all people will undergo it, be they believers or non-believers, Christians or non-Christians.

If Christians will be judged by the Gospel’s standards, pagans will be judged by the natural law which is ‘written in their hearts’ (Rom.2:15).

Christians will take full responsibility for their deeds as those who ‘knew’ the will of God, while some non-Christians will be treated less strictly for they did not know God or His will.

The Judgment will ‘begin with the household of the Lord’ (1 Pet.4:17), that is, with the Church and its members, and not with those who did not meet Christ nor hear the message of the Gospel. —The Last Judgment

Also see:

An Orthodox Christian View of Non-Christian Religions–Rev. Dr. George C. Papademetriou (Greek)

What about other Christians? (OCA)

Will the Heterodox Be Saved?–Archimandrite (Metropolitan) Philaret

The Catholic view:

Salvation Outside the Church

Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions–Pope Paul VI

Can people from other faiths be saved?

World Religions: A primer for Catholics

Vatican II for Gen-Xers

Can Non-Christians be Saved?

So, in the Orthodox view, what does it mean that Christ is the “Way, the Truth and the Life”?  It does not mean that belief in Christ is the only way to Heaven, or that Christ is a gatekeeper keeping out the unbelievers.  (One Orthodox forum poster jokingly referred to this belief as “Bouncer of Heaven.”)  Rather, it means that Christ is the Judge of who receives salvation.

How will people be judged if they were not properly taught about Christ?  We don’t know.  But, as my priest says, we who were properly taught have the responsibility to believe/live the faith, be an example of it, and pray for those who are not Christians.

And how do the Orthodox answer the question, “What’s the point of missions, then, if good Muslims/Hindus/etc. can go to Heaven anyway?”

The point of missions is not to get spiritual notches on your witness belt, or to increase believer counts, or to snatch people out of Hell. Our eternal life begins now, not in Heaven, and here we begin sanctification (“theosis”).

The point of missions is to spiritually feed the church and then the people outside the church, getting them started on theosis right here and now.

“You ask, will the heterodox be saved….Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins…” –St. Theophan the Recluse

To be continued……

 

The Seduction of Eva Volk: Review

I just finished reading The Seduction of Eva Volk by C.D. Baker.  This brilliant book is from the perspective of German Christians living in the post-WWI and then Nazi eras.  It depicts how good people could get caught up in believing in Hitler and Nazi lies.

For more information, go here (the Amazon page, with plot summary), here (a Youtube promo video), and here (C.D. Baker’s website, with plot summary and reviews).

The book pulls you into their world, so you can understand how they were so deceived by Hitler.  You see ordinary people–farmers, preachers, Protestants, Catholics, teenagers, shopowners, etc.–and how their daily lives were affected from the 1920s through the end of the War.

It also depicts vivid battle scenes in the Russian Front and in Germany at the end of the war, from the point of view of the sensitive poet Andreas, a soldier bound by his oath to Hitler.  The author consulted Johann Voss, a former German soldier and author of the memoir Black Edelweiss, describing what it was like to be in the Waffen-SS.

The book also centers around a love triangle–Eva, Andreas, and Andreas’ Nazi brother Wolf–which symbolizes the seduction of Germans by Hitler, and the eventual unblinding of their eyes.

The book does not take sides of one country against another.  While deploring the barbarism and atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis, the book also notes the atrocities on the side of the Allies.  You see characters wavering between what they hear from the Nazi propaganda machine, and rumors of brutality being done by their own side, not wanting to believe the rumors.  It is a warning against falling for Hitler-type characters, against the mass suffering and death which they can bring about.  Millions died on all sides.

The final chapters are engrossing and fast-paced, leaving you wondering until the very end how it’s going to turn out, who will survive as Germany collapses into rubble and starvation and death.  Yet the epilogue does not leave you with a typical American happy ending: It’s satisfying, but grim as you recognize the toll the war and Naziism took on all the characters.

 

 

A little bit about Internet Safety and checking your abuser’s blog

Over the years of reading blogs by and about survivors of narcissistic abuse, I’ve come across the concept of checking up on your abuser even after you’ve broken off contact with them.  This seems to be a natural human tendency: checking their blog, website, Facebook timeline, Twitter.  Of course, the common advice is not to do this because you need to cut yourself off, go through the withdrawal process, then move on and heal.

But I have another reason to put forth: Maybe with Facebook or Twitter they won’t know, since those platforms (from what I can tell) don’t allow you to collect stats from your visitors.  But many blogging and website formats do allow it in some form.  Even Wordpress.com allows you to install a Statcounter–You get limited information, but enough.  Blogger blogs allow both a full Statcounter and Google Analytics.  Especially if you have those two stat collectors working together, if you have a stalker after you–such as your abuser or narcisssistic family or sociopathic ex–you can track that person’s activities on your blog for years.

This is helpful for a blogging abuse/rape/other trauma victim.  But don’t forget:

It works both ways.

One of my stalkers has recently revealed to me where she works now.  It’s not through direct contact, but by checking my blog from work.  She has also been checking my church’s website from there, even though she hadn’t looked at it for some time.

(And yes, this makes me wonder a bit, the day after nearly getting into an accident on my bike.  I was riding with traffic, on the right, following all the laws, when somebody turned right in front of me.  My son said this person looked at me before they turned!  A few months ago, the same color vehicle started backing up into me right in the middle of the road.  I don’t want to live in fear or paranoia, but it’s enough to make a person wonder if somebody’s gunning for you.)

I had no idea where she was working.  Last I knew, the newspaper said she’d graduated college, but that was a few years ago.  I never would’ve thought of this place.  I wasn’t looking.  I avoid Googling her as if it were going to burn me.  But here was the information, given to me on a silver platter, unasked-for.

So keep that in mind when dealing with your narc ex-whatever.  Maybe they already know where you live, but you’ve changed jobs.  Or maybe you’ve moved.  Keep in mind that stats do NOT reveal home addresses without a subpoena, but work IPs reveal employer information because it’s a public place of business.

Now, I’m not some crazy stalker out to track down and harm my abusers.  But information like this in the wrong hands–I began to think I should post a public service message for my readers:

Don’t check the website/blog of your abuser/rapist/stalker/narc family/troll/etc.  Don’t think they won’t know.  Don’t give away where you are.  Just let them go.  Cold turkey!  I know at first it can be tough, but over time, it becomes easy.

 

 

“Kingdom Come”: Left Behind Review, Part 2–Old Testament Law Reinstated; Millennium’s Totalitarian Government Cracks Down on Thought-Crimes (Repost from 2014)

Part 1

On page 14 is a reminder of how, well, fake everybody seems, like Stepford Christians: All around Rayford and Chaim on their way to the Temple, people shout the same thing, passages taken from the Bible.  Rayford stands “with arms outstretched, reaching toward Jesus.”

There are multiple scenes just like this throughout the series, things like people praying stretched out on the floor.  It just doesn’t seem…real.  Like real people just wouldn’t behave this way.

Also, the book’s Jesus tells everyone, “Jerusalem shall be holy,and no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”  So…immigrants are banned now?

Pages 15 through 16 are full of technical details describing the Temple.  They sound like they were taken from the Pentateuch, basically a bunch of boring description that makes that part of the Old Testament such a chore to trudge through.  I’m lost: With my NVLD, trying to visualize all that technical detail hurts my brain.  So skip past it….

Page 16 talks about priests, burnt offerings, sacrifices–Obviously some Old Testament prophecies are being confused with End Times prophecies.  On page 23 it’s explained by “Jesus” that the Jewish people “must continue to present memorial sacrifices to Me in remembrance of My sacrifice and because they rejected Me for so long.”  WHAT??!!

Then on pages 27-29, Tsion is thrilled “to learn that the glory of the Lord would fill the temple and that the Mosaic laws would be observed–even the sacrifices.”

Well, except for the Passover lamb, which would not be sacrificed, to remind the Jews that “Jesus had been the perfect and once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world.  And for these observances, even the Gentile nations would be required to have representatives sojourn to the temple.”

And if you neglect to send them, your whole country will suffer dire consequences, as Egypt later discovered….

WHAT??!!  A restoration of the law that the Apostles said, in Acts 15:10, was a yoke that neither they nor their ancestors could bear, so they released the Christian church from this burden?

A seemingly endless set of laws for every minute detail of life, including that you can’t mix fabrics or eat shellfish, and women have to be separated for eight days a month?  And Tsion is thrilled about this?

Where the heck does this even come from?  It flies in the face of 2000 years of Christian theology, no matter which denomination you belong to.  It certainly doesn’t match anything I heard back when I was a premillennialist studying up on this stuff.  It would make the Millennium not so much of a paradise after all.

On page 29, we meet King David, who the authors tell us is “plain.”  Say what?  Here’s evidence that the authors don’t know the Bible as well as they claim, because 2 Samuel 16:12 describes David as healthy and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

This book is padded with all sorts of biblical quotes, which is not new, but now we also get to re-read stories we’ve already read many times before: Old Testament heroes speak to the children, and the children cheer, giving us absolutely nothing to advance the plot.  I did a lot of skimming.

This does not apply to the Jews, but any of the Gentiles who do not accept Christ by age 100, die on their birthday and burn in Hell eternally.  The ones who do accept Christ, age very slowly, since they are not to die at all during the Millennium (millennium=1000 years).  So by age 100, they’re still adolescents.

But of course, anyone who has reached middle-age knows that teenagers often rebel against religion–but eventually come back to religion after reaching maturity.  This rule is put in the book to pound the prophecies into a literal fulfillment, but ends up being draconian and arbitrary.

On page 46, the first adolescent dies at age 100, shocking many–but not all.  Some people knew she was not the good Christian she appeared to be.  Now Cameron ponders speaking during her funeral about the need to be saved.

(He used to be Buck, but now he’s Cameron again.  Are nicknames unrighteous and not allowed in the Millennium?)

Rayford says on page 47, “The only benefit I see coming from [Buck–er, Cameron– speaking at the funeral] is if [the parents] allow you to warn other young people of the consequences of putting off the transaction with Jesus.”

Transaction–UGH!  Salvation is not a business deal!

On page 70, rebellion has already begun, with an underground group of young people doing everything they’re not supposed to do.  Their nightclubs “are frequently raided and revelers arrested and imprisoned.”  Anyone who commits “actual crimes” is put to death on the spot by lightning from God.

So–does that mean the ones imprisoned, have not actually committed crimes?  Are they just imprisoned because of their beliefs–a trait of oppressive regimes around the world, considered a human rights violation?

And the ones who do commit crimes–They get no chance at all to repent or rehabilitate before they go to Hell and burn forever?  It’s no wonder this group is rebelling!

Yet we’re supposed to be on the side of the believers, even though their side is trying to turn into the USSR or some Middle Eastern despot, just because they’re on the side of “God” and the “good guys”?

But hey, at least it provides a plot for this book, some evil baddies to fight!  Though the main plan of action is to fight them by indoctrinating–er, converting–the young.

The baddies are The Other Light, or TOL, trying to build Satan’s army for Armageddon–knowing they’ll die at 100, but hoping to pass on their beliefs to the next generations first.  They expect to be resurrected by Satan.

The speech of the young people is also stilted and unnatural, like they swallowed a dictionary, with none of the usual “teen speech” you normally find in every generation.

They even use big words and academic speech, which is okay for textbooks and professional work, but just does not fit in the everyday life of teenagers.  So is slang evil, too?

Then on page 255, Kenny calls his girlfriend “sweetheart.”  Why must these kids sound like they grew up in the 1940s?

On pages 79-80, Qasim, a worker at COT (day care center used to evangelize children)–and potential recruit for the group of “good guys” infiltrating the TOL–is grilled on how holy he really is, with questions like, “Have you led children to Christ?”  “How did you come to Christ?”

The verdict: He is not a real Christian, because he hasn’t led any of the children in prayers of salvation, and his “passionless recitation of the steps to reconciliation with almighty God.”

Eh, lots of us Christians don’t have a tally of souls we led in the prayer of salvation.  Lots of us were also baptized as babies, or became Christians so young that we don’t have much of a story to tell.  That doesn’t mean we’re not Christians.

To be continued.

(Comment on original post here.)

 

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